Palm Tree People

Here’s the problem: I’m a Gemini.

I’m at the beginning of Year 3 of trying to perfect my backyard plantings. The Sky Pencil Hollies that I had such hopes for haven’t lived up to my dream – some are spindly and some have died. Turns out they’re susceptible to fungus. A few are doing well so it would be a shame to rip them out just because their brothers committed the crime of Not Thriving against me.

They’re in a full sun location outside the pool screen. So I’ve been thinking about it for a while and I came to the conclusion that I could replace the center cluster with a dwarf palm tree. After some agonizing I decided on a Pygmy Date Palm, despite the internet tut- tutting  of cold weather sensitivity and some serious spikes on the fronds.

And lo and behold, during Florida’s First Spring last week, I was meandering around the Walmart garden section and saw a rolling stand full of beautiful palms, fresh off the truck  including 2 PDPs. For cheap. So I immediately found a nice young Walmart worker who carted the thing around for me and put it in the cargo compartment of my car and brought it home. The cargo compartment hasn’t recovered yet.

pdpHow very beautiful it is. Soft, delicate fronds gently waving in a light breeze (+ those spikes) , attractive shade of green, contained growth, and just the right size for the space. I set it out in the sun and now , after several days of staring at it, I find it to be … unsatisfactory. It has 4 trunks and I really would prefer 3.

Because I’m a Gemini. (impulsiveness, followed by regret)

So what I need to know from you palm tree people is this: can I simply saw one trunk off? Is that asking for trouble? I found this in an on-line version of a newspaper article: nc

… but you know, the internet. Filled with people repeating misinformation or outright making things up*. If you’ve ever tried a recipe that exists only on the internet or one of Martha Stewart’s anywhere, you know that’s true.

So, Palm Tree People – is that true? If yes, then what happens next? Do I have to paint the raw spot, to prevent a portal for rot, like you do with a deciduous tree in the northeast? Or is it just saw, plant, go?

*I confess in the name of comedy, I have been known to make things up. But not because of laziness – all in the name of humor! Just recently, I was inspired by the #Megxit drama going on and for the benefit of my like-minded colleagues in the UK Twitter world, I made a clever photoshop.  Very clever, if I do say so myself. When I say “like-minded”, I mean anti-Meghaneers who believe MM has no sentimentality and that she will soon be out of cash money after the big split with Buckingham Palace and her future divorce from the sad prince. Anyway, UK tweeters took my little photo as truth and a wave of outrage began to spread among the group. I tell you, those people would never make it in the world of US political tweeting.

it’s funny, right?



Check In: Day 10

How’s the retirement going, Suzette? VERY WELL, THANKS.

                                                                        If I had a big Alzheimer’s clock like this I could hang it on the wall next to my bedroom doorway and then I would see it on my way out to start the day in full and confident knowledge of what day it actually is.

Benefit: I am no longer counting by business days. Now I count in calendar days, like a person.

Little wrinkle:   I have already lost track of what day it is since every day feels like Saturday now. I’m trying to talk Sami into getting one of those Alzheimer’s clocks that not only displays but announces in a human-like voice: TODAY IS TUESDAY. Sami, however, is not yet ready to accept demented people as his peer group. I don’t care I just want to know for sure what day it is. I’m still pretty good about remembering what month it is but as I say, it’s Day 10 of retirement so we’ll see how long that lasts.

[Edited to add: I know I can look at my cell phone, my iPad, the desktop computer or any one of the TVs and find out the day and date but I need something immediately available so that I can refresh without too much effort on my part. The thing is sometimes I don’t think about what day it is when I get up in the morning. Then later I make a cockeyed assumption about what day it is and that’s quite often wrong. This results in frantic conversations with Sami about things like getting the garbage can to the curb in a big hurry until he tells me what day it really is. Hint: not garbage day. So apparently the demented are NOT his peer group after all but it looks more and more to me mine. 😦  ]

We should probably establish some kind of routine around here. That would help. We went out for breakfast today – Pancake Tuesday, you know –  so we could start out by agreeing to go out to breakfast every Tuesday. We should probably start showing up in a church every now and then.  Pancakes every Tuesday, church every Sunday. Or every 4th Sunday. We’ve been in our Florida home for 2 1/2 years and haven’t set foot in a local church yet. Don’t judge! We did go to a funeral mass in Jacksonville once, so it’s not like we’re complete heathens.

I started my retired life in a frenzy of kitchen activity – bread baking, marmalade making, producing a lunch and a supper on the same day – but frankly I’m  not into that kind of predictability. This week, I’ve been visiting all the Walmarts within a 30 mile radius to find more of the really great yellow Ixora that they had here in my local one. (3 gallon pot, 11.98!)  I need 8 and so far have found 7.

The River City Walmart had 2 of what I was looking for, plus some smaller ones in the right color. I grabbed them in case the 8th one eludes me.

I’ll have to go deep into the heart of Jacksonville to complete my plan. Maybe tomorrow. Today I made a fruitless trip to the Walmart Supercenter in southeastern Georgia and that’s enough roaming around. It threw off my whole napping schedule! I’m probably going to have to shorten cocktail hour to get everything back on track. This is what constitutes a tough choice these days. Hmm, not entirely accurate. I did struggle with the decision between orange or yellow ixora as well.

I’ll probably have to get them planted soon too but that would involve finding (or being) someone who likes digging more than they like napping.

I was going to invite some neighbors over this evening to celebrate Fat Tuesday but #1 I already had pancakes* today and #2 I missed my nap. Also #3 drifting balls of dog hair. You’ll notice that housecleaning has not yet appeared on my Schedule of Retirement Events.   I had to can the party plan.

To sum up: eating, gardening shopping , taking naps. Perhaps those “active seniors” in the Celebrex commercials would be bored, but for us it’s not a bad way to pass the time.

*  They have this thing they call “diner-style” pancakes around here. God bless me if anyone can find an actual diner, but diner -style pancakes, yes. They are enormous, on the sweet side and a little bit stretchy. Not sure if regular pancakes are an option around here?


VERY IMPORTANT UPDATE! I forgot that during my week as a housewife, I used some zip ties to lash down 2 lid organizer racks in the pantry to corral my big trays, pizza pans, pasta serving bowls and kabob baskets. No wonder I need so many naps!

I never had a pantry before. I’m not too good at keeping it orderly, which I believe is a basic requirement for housewives. I would rate myself a 3, which is “meets expectations but does not excel.” (Maybe I’m not 100% divorced from the workplace just yet?) Also, “expectations” in this case means the door can still close.